The Keto Diet – Common Myths and Misunderstandings
“This has been one of the best changes I’ve made in my life and has had tremendous benefits for me in terms of my mood, my ability to focus, my levels of discipline, and my business.”
This is my second of three posts I’m writing on the ketogenic diet or the keto diet.
As I’ve mentioned in the first post, I have found this diet to be tremendously beneficial for my life.
I’ve been on it for about 18 months now with the odd cheat weeks and even a cheat month when I was in Italy and in Spain, but generally have been following and I’ve had tremendous benefit.
As you know, I’m often talking about personality psychology, about ENFPs, my own personality type, about INFPs, and about building a business.
But the reason I want to cover this, and I may even cover it more in future posts is, as I’ve said, this has been one of the best changes I’ve made in my life and has had tremendous benefits for me in terms of my mood, my ability to focus, my levels of discipline, and my business where I’ve seen significant growth that I directly attribute to following this way of eating.
In this post I want to clear up some of the misunderstandings I hear about the ketogenic diet.
Sometimes these are from strangers I just talked to and they’re like: “Yeah, I’ve heard about that diet, whatever.”
But other times, it’s actually people that are on the diet and aren’t getting the best results and as I asked them more about what they’re actually doing, I realized they’re making some small mistakes with it, or they’re not necessarily following it the way they should be.
Keto Diet Myth #1: You’re Missing Essential Nutrients
The first misunderstanding is that you’re missing something you should be eating, like there’s essential vitamins or nutrients that you can’t get on this diet and it’s really unhealthy.
And it’s a funny thing, even when I gave up just eating wheat for a while before this diet, people would bring that up to me.
My own dad was like: “Well, what about…?”
What about what?
What are you getting from bread that you can’t get other places?
Yes, some bread is enriched and it has different vitamins, but vitamins you can definitely get other places.
So let me just say this:
Carbs serve no essential role in your diet. You will not die from not eating carbs and you do actually get some carbs within this diet anyhow.
But there’s nothing you need to eat that you can’t get in this.
Now, you may want to be careful with what you’re eating.
Make sure you have a balanced diet within this. Balanced, but not carbohydrates, I mean balanced in terms of having lots of vegetables and different things.
You do have to use more salt and more fat and I know this is tough when you’re cooking. You have to be sure to use extra fat and extra salt because you won’t actually get enough salt in this diet.
So I know it’s really disgusting meals with lots of salt and fat and all that kind of stuff.
You may want to substitute with a bit of potassium or just make sure to eat a lot of avocados.
But generally, you’re not missing out on anything that your body needs.
Keto Diet Myth #2: You Can’t Eat Vegetables
That brings me to the second misunderstanding that I hear – that you can’t eat vegetables.
Yes, you can.
The way you monitor carbs in this diet is what’s called net carbs.
Basically, the carbohydrates levels of food minus the fiber because you’re ultimately not digesting those carbs.
If they’re in the form of fiber, therefore, it doesn’t really matter. So a lot of foods like avocado have something like 20 gross carbs, total carbs, but most of that is fiber.
And so you can just eat as many avocados as you want.
I cook lots of cauliflower, I actually make cauliflower mashed potatoes. So instead of a potato, I use cauliflower. It’s really delicious.
I make zucchini pasta and generally cook with a lot of different vegetables.
I also eat berries.
You need to be careful on having way too many in terms of the quantity but if you have a bowl of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, not a problem at all.
Keto Diet Myth #3: It’s Complicated
The third misunderstanding that I worry might keep some people from ever starting this is the thought that you have to be obsessive and that things have to be really complicated to do this.
Yes, there are people online who are tracking their macronutrients and this and that and following extreme meal plans.
I have never once tracked what I eat in a single day since I have been on this.
I’m also not obsessive.
I read one book on this. And that’s it.
I don’t follow 20 Instagram or so talk about keto stuff.
I don’t go to Quito meetups.
I don’t even buy keto supplements, except MCT oil, which I just bought for the first time – turns out it is really good, so I’m going to keep buying it but I’m not obsessive with it.
The way I approach this is I figured out the kinds of food I shouldn’t have.
So basically eliminating grains, potatoes, a lot of sugars, things like that.
Figured out the foods that are really good to have more of: Things like avocado, lots of like coconut oil, and olive oil.
Adding extra oil is important.
Then I just shop for those things and then I cook what I feel like.
I have some meals in the back of my head that I kind of default to – no obsession needed.
So yes, perhaps for some people, this comes off as a really extreme diet.
But it does not need to be.
If anything, you could argue that the other way – eating a heavy, heavy carb diet is just as, if not more extreme than this.
Keto Diet Myth #4: It’s High Protein
One of the things that you do not want to mix up is this diet with the Atkins diet.
Often when I tell people that I follow the keto diet, they say low carb, and they assume it’s high protein.
This is not the case and it actually makes a really big difference.
I could never follow a high protein diet. A chicken breast for every meal is not very tasty and it is not ultimately actually that healthy in the long run.
Although I am not an expert in that area of the nutrition, but the general breakdown in terms of what you’re supposed to be eating with this is somewhere between 70% and 80%, fat. to maybe 10% of carbs and the rest protein.
So protein somewhere like 15% to 20% of your calories.
Keep in mind it is calories, not grams of food, so it’s not as hard to meet as you might think.
An egg is quite big and has around 60 calories, I think something like that. Butter is quite small and has like 60 calories.
So it’s been easy to get the fat in there, because a small amount of fat has a high amount of calories.
But again, keep this in mind – it’s high fat.
If you go medium fat, kind of medium protein, you do the whole thing that a lot of us fall into.
It’s like this middle-class mentality of don’t do anything too extreme, of being balanced.
You will get none of the benefits.
Too much protein throws you out of ketosis. Ketosis is the state where you burn a lot of fat and you get that mental clarity and extreme focus that I’ve talked about in other posts.
So if you do like medium levels, or you say you don’t want to go to extreme on the carbs, I’ll eat 100 or 150 grams a day instead of 50 or less, which is the recommended.
Yeah, you’ll get benefits, you’ll be eating healthier than probably 95% of people, but you won’t get any of these extreme benefits and the real perks of the diet.
So if you’re going to do it, go all in.
Keto Diet Myth #5: It’s Hard
The last misunderstanding is that it’s hard.
Okay, I like it when people think that I’m this machine who can follow this extreme diet because I’m all discipline and willpower.
But the truth is it’s not very hard and average meal I might have might be like a nice steak and red wine.
As I’ve said earlier, my average meals have gone up in quality, in terms of tastes and in terms of my general dining experience.
Sure, there are some challenges.
Eating out is not as fun as a lot of you know. I live in Prague in the Czech Republic. The beer here is incredibly cheap – not easy to be on this diet eating out here.
So there are times where it is tougher, especially since low carb beer is not a thing in Europe, really. You can buy it at grocery stores, not at restaurants.
There are definitely times out with friends, especially now in the summer, when having beer would be nice.
There are times when I’m out at a restaurant and having to try to order substitutions and things like that is a bit of a pain.
But generally, it’s not very hard and the benefits outweigh the difficulty at least ten to one for me.
So I hope this post has cleared up some misunderstanding about the keto diet.
As I ‘ve said, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’ve been on this thing for about 18 months now and nothing but good things to say.
I will be sharing a third post in this series with some of my tips for getting started staying on and getting the most benefits possible from the keto diet.
Let me know in the comments if there’s something I explained in this post which cleared up a misunderstanding for you about this whole keto diet.
Oh, and just before you go, I wanted to let you know I’m hosting a three-day retreat in Vancouver, Canada, late July this summer. If you’re interested in joining us and connecting with some awesome people, check this link:
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